Today I have Karen Gowen a fellow blogger on Unedited to share with you what it's like to be an editor at a small publishing house.
Jen asked me to tell you what it’s like being an editor for a small publishing company. Three words? IT IS FUN!!!
It’s fun to assist authors in polishing their work and getting it ready for publication. Okay, sometimes it can be rough, like when the editor and the author have different viewpoints about what direction the manuscript should go. In these cases, compromise is king. Although the editor has greater objectivity and also must maintain the marketability of the finished product, the writer often has insights about his work and audience. The editor must respect that, just as the writer must respect the editor’s experience and professionalism.
Recently, WiDo finished work on a regional Southern novel, MISSISSIPPI COTTON by Paul H. Yarbrough. The editors (all Northerners) took issue with some of the references in Paul’s manuscript. Paul (a Southerner) insisted that his Southern audience would “get it.” The editor admitted that he was probably right. He knew his demographic better than anyone and therefore she let him have the kind of creative control that this book needed in order to be a hit with his Southern audience. Judging from the enthusiastic advance reviews for MISSISSIPPI COTTON, this was the right decision.
But sometimes an editor must stand firm or compromise the quality and/or marketability of the finished product. A level of trust must exist on both sides to make this relationship work. When it does, a wonderful book is the end result. When it doesn’t, well, sometimes a contract might be cancelled but we won’t go there because Jen’s blog is a happy place.
As difficult as it is to “let go,” sometimes an author must do just that. Get rid of the favorite parts. Rewrite entire scenes. Take out extra characters. Change names. Change the title. It’s called “the editing process,” and sometimes it hurts. But then so does childbirth.
Besides working with creative geniuses otherwise called authors, I get to work with other editors and miscellaneous brilliant people who are passionate about publishing books. One of my favorite parts of editing is helping to review new submissions, because it is so EXCITING to find something with that special spark of originality. Then there’s the final edit, when it all comes together, and you can’t wait until the book is released. Maybe not quite as excited as the author but almost!
So if you'd like to submit to WiDo publishing check out their website and don't forget to stop by and say hello to Karen Gowen over at her blog!